Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What's Love got to do with it?

I've been thinking a lot about love lately.  Not the mushy romantic kind though.  I've been thinking about the selfless, sacrificial kind.  The kind that Jesus gives and asks us to give to others. Agape Love.  Sure it sounds easy enough until you come across someone who seems unworthy of such love.  Suddenly we're very willing to walk away and forget love altogether.  I've recently been watching my children interact with one another and I've come to notice how little of that kind of love is present in my home.  Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of love here, just not the selfless, sacrificial love that Jesus demonstrates.  I find that to be a real problem.  Not only because we are a family who carries the name Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but also because God Himself has asked us (you too) to show that kind of love to the world.  If it's not in our homes, how is it going to be in our world?  Turn on any news channel and you'll see that the exact opposite is happening today, all around our world and our country.  We are all so consumed with our rights and with "justice", with someone "getting what's coming to them".  All of that is the exact opposite of how God asks us to live.

Let's bring it in a little closer shall we, let's get back into our homes and our families, because that is where it has to begin.  We all know families who are hurting and broken. (maybe that's you) Parents and children who are holding onto past wrongs with both hands proclaiming that they get their way or else.  Families who want one thing but do the very thing that drives loved ones away.  Days, months even years of separation and no contact.  You see, if we keep holding on to the worlds ideas on love we will end up empty and alone.  BUT, if we ever could be so bold and so brave to throw that false love out the window and grab on to God's love with both hands, I believe that a radical change would take place inside of our homes, our churches, our communities and even the world!!!

I've had the chance to practice this kind of love with one of my own (note that I said practice - it's hard and I don't always get it right, but I'm trying) and I truly believe that when the time is right and the field has been properly tended to, a new crop will burst forth!  God promises it and I'm holding onto it with both hands.  I can't continue to hold every wrong thing done against me out in front of me like a banner or like its some right I have so that others know I've been wronged.  I don't want to hold things over someone elses head!  There's no reward in that, anywhere!  I have tasted God's grace and forgiveness and I want to give it to others!!  It is way more satisfying.....even when it isn't given in return.

This kind of love requires a complete trust and faith in Jesus.  Without that, this kind of love cannot be attained.  So, you may need to start there! How?  Well, first you admit that you are a sinner, that you need a Savior!  You acknowledge that Jesus Christ came to earth, died a gruesome death for you and for I.  He rose from the grave three days later and now sits at the right hand of His Father; God. His death on the cross represents the payment for our sins, payment that we could never pay!  Now because of the cross we have a chance at eternal life with Jesus Christ!!! At that point, search out other Christians, a church that teaches the TRUTH!  Dive in and get to know Him.  He's worth it!!

 If you've got that or are working toward that - great!  Let's continue!  I want to look at two verses that come to mind when thinking about Jesus' love.  The first is:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

I've grown up hearing that verse.  I don't know that I knew it was scripture for a long time but it still made sense to me.  I always thought of it in that mushy, romantic love that I mentioned earlier.  But now that I'm older I realize that that's not the kind of love that it's referring to at all!!  The love that I am capable of clearly demonstrates it's lack of sin covering all of the time!  I'm prone to hold accounts of wrongs, to stand my ground and demand my rights, remain unmovable until I get my way.  But this love, this Agape love, Jesus' love.....is an entirely different story!  Let's look at another verse that breaks it down a bit more!

1 Corinthians 13 * Otherwise known as the Love Chapter starting at verse number four:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (bold added)

I think that about covers it!  Patient......willing to wait.  No room for pride.  No dishonoring others, no self-seeking, not easily angered (yikes), it keeps no records of wrongs!  None?  How about a few, the most recent ones?  No?  Okay.  I think we have some work to do friends.

If we want to see a revolution here on earth, in our hearts and in our homes, we must be sooooooo crazy that we are willing to lay everything that we think we know aside and jump on board with this kind of Love!

I want to leave you with a portion of my devotional this morning.  It comes from the book My Utmost for His Highest from Oswald Chambers.  September 2 the last paragraph says this, "He who believes in Me....out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" -and hundreds of other lives will be continually refreshed.  Now is the time for us to break "the flask" of our lives, to stop seeking our own satisfaction, and to pour out our lives before Him.  Our Lord is asking who of us will do it for Him?"

Another book that highly recommend on the subject of crazy love is by Francis Chan and its called "Crazy Love".

Who will be so bold, so brave and so crazy with me?  Who is willing to lay themselves down and pour all that God has given them out to those around them?  I do hope and pray that you will join me!  I promise the journey, the struggle, and even the pain will be worth it!!

God bless!  Lorraine